Camera Vs tape deck or FX 1/Z1 Vs DSR 11(or equivalent)

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Mike Harding
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Joined: Aug 13 2000

From time to time on these forums there has been the odd enquiry about whether or not to invest in a Mini DV tape deck to save wear and tear on the main Camera when editing and saving the master edit to tape etc. Once or twice the wise advisors have pointed out that here are some very cheap (or at least cheaper than a dedicated tape deck) DV ‘inabled’ single chip Mini DV cameras which could ‘double’ as a tape deck and a back up cam as well. Thus saving on the cost of a deck and providing a bonus back up camera.

I have been wondering about the wisdom of turning this logic sideways and would welcome views.

I am an amateur VX2000 user and am contemplating getting a second camera as many of my shoots are becoming more complicated and require second cameras either fixed or manned. – (the new HD Sony Range comes instantly to mind!) Tape decks are costly (eg DSR 11 £1400 ish – may be a little cheaper at the forthcoming Video Forum). I was thinking of putting my £1400 towards my new HD Camera (and initially using it in SD mode till the rest of my edit facility is HD compatible) and risking not having a dedicated tape deck on the basis that I could play back Mini DV through either Camera (though I guess I would be stuffed if I tried to play HD material back through the VX2000 ).

Is this a certifiable thought demonstrating that I have lost all grip on reality (and have zero understanding of the on going and most interesting Sony FX1 HD thread elsewhere on this board)? I would welcome your advice.

Mike Harding

Gavin Gration
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Joined: Jul 29 1999

Order the FX1.........you can debate the reasoning while you wait for it to arrive ;)

robo
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Joined: Aug 15 2000

Mike, you've already said you need a second camera so that means if you go the HD route you will need two HD cameras, not just the one. If you don't do this for a living my bet is you would be better off with a second 'ordinary' camera and picking up a cheap (£350) dv in/out camera as an edit deck. In a years time the prices and spec will have changed so much you will be looking at a much better deal on HD equipment and still be able to get a fair price for your old gear.
My advice is wait and buy good quality used gear in a year or so - let someone else pay top wack and suffer the depreciation!!

robo

Alan Roberts
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Joined: May 3 1999

It all depends on whether you see yourself ever wanting to record HD. If not, then robo's right, otherwise I'd go for the FX1 just for the fun you'll get from it.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

drgagx
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Joined: Dec 1 2001

Re your first paragraph, as a fellow amateur I use my older camera as a tape deck; it has dv in and out. This works well for me.

Re HD/HDV: it is a long way away for me. To make the most of it you need new camera, very fast PC, very large hard drives, HD capable edit system, HD capable monitor, yet to be released dvd formats/drives and fast encoders to name but a few ingredients. Some of the pieces are in place but with limited choices at present. It will all come, in time and at a price. If you are happy to be an early adopter and live with the limitations then it is a route to go. I am sticking with DV for the time being as an available, accessible and affordable approach for my purposes.

DAVE M
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Joined: May 17 1999

I would say you're too much an occassional user to be getting involved with HD this early.

the cost will be half that now in 18 months or so and hopefully some of the kinks (there must be some) will be ironed out.

I agree with robo

Alan Roberts
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Joined: May 3 1999

I doubt the cost will halve in 18 months, the market's too small as yet. The FX1 is effectively a PD170, the price of those hasn't dropped much since launch. It will take serious competition from others than Sony for the FX1 price to drop by as much as 25%.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Mike Harding
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Joined: Aug 13 2000

Thanks chaps. Well argued trains of thought.

Might come down to the use of a coin - or several if the first comes down the wrong way up!

Seriously though I have some sympathy for the 'wait till things have settled down' argument. I have managed without a 'deck' so far and as the cam is the more pressing need I think I will go into watch mode for a while longer. I'll just have to borrow a second cam when the need arises.

Many thanks
Mike